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11/11/2014 00:00:00
by Sports Reporter I Agencies
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DOMESTIC cricket was hit by a player strike on Tuesday - the same day the domestic Logan Cup competition was due to start.

It is the second time in a year that domestic players have gone on strike over wages and contractual issues.

Zimbabwe Cricket's (ZC) financial problems are equally well known and led to the number of franchises being cut from five to four for the new season, while player salaries have been restructured.

ZC only confirmed players’ contract offers on Friday, two days before the season began with a round of limited-overs fixtures, with the highest earners promised US$1 500 (NZ$1922) per month and the lowest getting just US$300.

But the country’s harsh tax laws mean the players would only take home about half of those amounts, and they would still need to pay 40 per cent of their medical aid costs out of their own pockets.

It is also understood ZC reduced the players’ salaries and put a number of them on earn-as-you-play deals.

The players took part in the Pro50 Championship at the weekend, but refused to play on Tuesday in protest over ‘grey areas’ in the contracts they had been offered by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC).

Players did not take the field in the matches between Mashonaland Eagles and Mid-West Rhinos and Matabeleland Tuskers.

ZC confirmed the suspension of the tournament while it meets with the players' association, whose secretary general, Eliah Zvimba, urged the players to take the field pending discussions on Friday.

Zvimba however blamed ZC for the impasse, telling AFP: "This is the only language (ZC) understands.

"We had September, we had October and now it's November. We were supposed to have discussed these issues without rushing, but that's not happened."

Currently, only 10 players are contracted per franchise - something ZC made provision for in July. Then, they announced that 55 cricketers would have employment across the board, with 15 central contracts and the remaining 40 spread evenly across the four sides.

ZC spokesman Lovemore Banda issued the following statement on Tuesday night: “The 2014/15 domestic season began on Sunday.

“Two Pro50 matches were played: Mashonaland Eagles hosting Mid-West Rhinos at Old Hararians Sports Club and Matabeleland Tuskers hosting Mountaineers at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.


“On Monday, the Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association (ZPCA) wrote to Zimbabwe Cricket listing what it called ‘grey areas’ that needed to be addressed.

“Among the matters were contractual issues and the memorandum of understanding between ZC and the ZPCA.

“ZC proposed a meeting on Thursday to continue with discussions but the ZPCA chief executive officer Eliah Zvimba said he would only be available on Friday afternoon.

“Against that background of continuing talks with the ZPCA, it came as a surprise to ZC that when umpires went on to the field for the first day of Logan Cup matches at the two venues, the players refused to come out, citing the same contractual issues which were contained in the e-mail from their association and which will be discussed at the meeting scheduled for Friday.

“The boycott by the players has left ZC with no option but to suspend domestic matches until the players make themselves available.”

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